CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After trailing her opponent in the general election, voters provided Paulette Guajardo with an overwhelming lead against opponent and incumbent Joe McComb in the runoff election for Corpus Christi Mayor.
Guajardo garnered 56.02 percent of the vote to McComb’s 43.98 percent in complete unofficial returns.
Not a stranger to the council, she has served on the council as an at-large councilwoman. Guajardo will be the only woman to serve on the council.
MEET PAULETTE GUAJARDO: After serving on the Corpus Christi City Council, Paulette Guajardo has no doubt she’s more than ready to take the city’s top job.
When we asked Guajardo if four years on the city council was enough experience to be the city’s next mayor, she said it was more than just about her.
“The people came to me and said, 'It's fine,' ” Guajardo told KRIS 6 News. “You need to run. It was an expectation.”
That expectation, she said, led to her officially announcing her candidacy in August.
“I think it's time that we strengthen leadership, that we move, that we take our city to the next level,” she said.
The two-term city councilwoman found herself in a crowded field of mayoral candidates. Then on Election Night, she came in second to current mayor Joe McComb by fewer than 1,000 votes.
Among her supporters on Election Night, Guajardo wasn’t about to back down.
“We're gonna go to a runoff, work hard,” she told KRIS 6 News then.
That left Guajardo with 45 days to convince constituents that Corpus Christi needs new blood.
"I am not a career politician, nor will I ever be,” she said. “We have to have ethical leadership. We have to have ethical leadership. We have to have a higher standard for the leaders who are elected by the people.”
Gujardo said narrowing down the top three items her constituents want to talk about is easy.
“Fixing our streets, securing and uninterruptible source of water, and the third one will be public safety,” she said.
And the list goes on.
Guajardo said the city needs a full-time mayor for major changes to happen. That full-time status is a must, she said, for Corpus Christi to grow.
We wondered how a full-time mayor would work with a strong city manager form of government that already exists at City Hall.
“I can’t wait to find out,” she said. “I think if I was mayor, and I was working full-time, Peter (Zanoni) is going to be able to move even faster than he is now.”
But for now, it’s a sprint to the finish, and Guajardo said she’s more than ready.